masters of cinema
A Time to Love and a Time to Die

A Time to Love and a Time to Die

Douglas Sirk ,

Film Summary






Aspect Ratio:







English SDH


Movie Classic

Douglas Sirk — the master of the Hollywood melodrama — turns back to his native Germany at the time of the Second World War for the film that would stand as his penultimate American feature: A Time to Love and a Time to Die. A CinemaScope production staged on a grand scale, Sirk’s picture nevertheless pulsates with an intimacy that has known longing for too long, and seethes with the repression of emotions poised to explode like bombs.

John Gavin plays Ernst Gräber, a soldier on the Russian-German Front in 1944 venturing home to Hamburg on a rare furlough. Upon arrival, he discovers a city that bears little resemblance to the one he left behind — and so, through the rubble of the air-raids, he searches desperately for fragments of his family’s shattered lives. But amid the shards, he falls in love with Elisabeth (Liselotte Pulver), the charming daughter of his parents’ doctor, and thus activates a magnetism that compels both individuals toward one another in love, even as it hurtles them headlong into epochal death.

Adapted from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque (the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, who also makes a cameo appearance in Sirk’s picture), A Time to Love and a Time to Die takes its literary source and sculpts it anew out of matter made from color, decor, and performance — and arguably bests the novel on all aesthetic levels. Yet perhaps nothing can better summarise the power of Sirk’s film — or of his entire body of work — than these words from the movie’s trailer: “Their pounding hearts drowned out the sound of chaos thundering around them.” — The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Douglas Sirk’s 1958 masterpiece for the first time on Blu-ray anywhere in the world.

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2 Discs

  • Gorgeous new high definition anamorphic transfer, original 2:35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio.
  • New optional English subtitles (SDH) for the hearing impaired
  • Original theatrical trailer, from when the film was called A Time to Love
  • Of Tears and Speed: According to Jean-Luc Godard [12:00] A visually annotated recitation of Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal essay on Sirk’s film.
  • Out There in the Dark: Wesley Strick Speaks About Douglas Sirk's Secret [19:00] Video interview with Wesley Strick, screenwriter of Scorsese’s Cape Fear and author of the novel Out There in the Dark
  • Imitation of Life: A Portrait of Douglas Sirk [49:00] A film portrait from 1984, directed by Daniel Schmid and photographed by Renato Berta, of Douglas Sirk and his wife Hilda in conversation
  • Original 1958 dialogue and continuity script (as an on-disc pdf)
  • 36-page booklet containing: the complete text of Jean-Luc Godard’s essay on the film; writings from critic Tag Gallagher; excerpts from Sirk’s reflections; a new translation of Goethe’s poem “Blissful Longing”, beloved by Sirk — and more.


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